Sunday, 30 August 2015

COPYCAT DESIGNS & DRESSES #13: The Green Anarkali Dress by Sonas Couture

I thought I'd post about this dress, which I ordered a long time ago (about 7 or 8 years now!), that I ordered through a friend from her contact in India.

Green and gold are my favourite colour combinations when it comes to Asian clothes, although weirdly enough I don't have many clothes in these colours (my wardrobe just feels like its full of blue dresses right now!)

I originally ordered this dress a few years ago, and found that it was too heavy to wear to my friends' weddings, which is when I wanted to wear it - back then I wore a lot less heavier outfits that I do now and it just felt too dressy for a guest to wear! I then decided to save it for my engagement, should I have one, although in the end I didn't have an official engagement so I never wore it, To be honest, even if I had an engagement, I would probably have gone with something else, perhaps because I felt like I outgrew the style of this outfit.

My opinions of this dress also varied over the year - when I first ordered it I was astounded at how long it was and didn't like it, and packed it away. A few years later I pulled it out (when the fashion of hemlines were long!) and wished it was long - it was too short for me! Eventually I didn't wear it at all and actually ended up selling it online, I didn't think it suited me and thought there was no point in it taking up wardrobe space.

For anyone who wants to know about this outfit and where I ordered it from, I don't have specific details as a friend of mine ordered it from India. I do know that the tailors are called Hafeez and that they were based around Delhi area.

So this is the original design that I sent to India, which I think is from Sonas Couture but I'm not 100% sure, although I do remember this being a popular design which was copied by a lot of online sellers.

Below is the dress that I got, which was actually a pretty decent copy, although one of the reasons I got it so cheap was the work was a lot more cheaper, being mostly french knot threadwork, beading and sequins. The colours were pretty spot on though and the shape of the dress was good, although the bust area wasn't perfect but it looked better on.

Here's a few close ups of the dress - it was pretty full of work and really heavy because there were motifs and a heavy hemline on the front and back. It was also pretty tightly knit, in all the years I had the dress the work didn't really get messed up, surprisingly enough. It also helped that the dress itself was made from georgette rather than the usual chiffon material sellers often use, which meant the fabric was a little sturdy.

I haven't got a picture of myself wearing this outfit because I only tried it on a couple of times, and while it didn't look quite as good as it did on the model in the picture above, it was really flattering. It was pretty slimming on as well, although I do remember wishing I could get it made longer!

THE GOOD: The price - at the time of buying this outfit, I bought another 4 and paid £250 for all of them, so this worked out about £60-70 because it was the heaviest outfit. I may have gotten a discount because there were so many outfits, but there would be no way I'd ever get a dress like this for this price!

THE BAD: The bust, I really wasn't a fan of it. I didn't get a lot of choice at the time of ordering in terms of making alterations, and because it was done through a friend who had to shout down details over the phone to India, I didn't want to confuse or complicate things so I didn't make any changes at all. I don't really tend to go for outfits which emphasise the bust area too much, it did fit pretty well and I always like to make sure something is tailored to my body properly, but I didn't think this was a an amazing shape on me because I'm more straight than curvy in terms of body shapes!

THE UGLY: Squeezing into the outfit a few years after I bought it, and realising I wasn't a size 6 anymore!

OVERALL: I got a pretty decent deal with this outfit, and although I didn't end up wearing it, it was pretty beautiful to me when I got it. I loved (and still love) this colour combination and would still wear them as a formal even now. I remember looking into getting a jamwar or brocade fabric skirt or sharara made for this outfit, so that I would give a really flowy look to the outfit but in the end I didn't because I decided not to keep the outfit.

It's nice to look back at outfits I've had in my wardrobe and see how far fashion has come, and also the idea of ordering from India and Pakistan. Nowadays I do a lot more online shopping and I have more of an experienced eye when looking in the shops and online, although I don't think I did too badly with this one!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Things I've Been Doing...A Mad Hatter Tea Party!

Sorry for being absent for a while folks, I've been caught up with organising a tea party at my house this weekend just gone, and now that it's over I can post a few pics and get back to fashion!

Here's a few snaps of the day, I tried to keep the theme as consistent as possible, and I loved how many ideas there were out there (thank you Pinterest!), as well as the random things I found around my house (the top hat was already in my wardrobe from a fancy dress party from years ago!)

I was really happy with how everything came together, and the fact that it really let my creative bug out, not to mention all the goodies and desserts I managed to make (and eat!)

You can see more pictures here about my afternoon and also some on my Instagram page as well, but it was definitely a fun day and worth all the hard work!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

HIGH STREET DESIGNS: Floral Maxis by Seasons

Anyone who goes shopping with me will see that I've been having a hankering for florals in some form or another, and I'm really liking how this trend has seeped into Asian fashion in beautiful outfits of various styles.

Here are some beautiful floral print maxi dresses I've been lusting after in local shop Seasons Asian Designer Wear, which I thought would be amazing for a reception or registry (or an extravagant tea party!)
They're actually not too badly priced at £400ish, and while there's not a lot of work on these, they don't really need much bling to it, the cut of the skirts remind me of something from Ted Baker, and they're definitely glamorous enough to be dressy!

I love the orange and red print one on the bottom right, but my sisters all love the white printed one on the bottom left a little more. Which do you prefer?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Curly Fry's Shopping Therapy! My Eid Shopping Experience

I wanted to post about shopping for Eid outfits - I've been asked by a lot of readers and also friends/family for the best places to look for outfits, and honestly, it's a problem I have when shopping as well.
My main problem when looking for outfits is that east London prices are too high for what the value of the outfit is, and even though the shops are catching up with Pakistani trends and designers, I still would rather not pay £700-1000 for a formal outfit (prices which I've seen!). I also found that not all shops have oufits which are up to date with trends - this isn't really an issue but my preference for this Eid was something simple and in line with Pakistani trends of a shorter kameez, which was only in a few shops near me.

My other issue was with shopping online, there is that obvious risk of not getting what you paid for, and also the worry that your outfit may not come on time. There are a few good websites where you can buy ready-to-wear, and also vendors who sell outfits but some of them were expensive or didn't have what I was looking for.

In the weeks before Eid, my sisters and I had a look around the shops for inspiration on Eid outfits, so that if we saw anything we could get it. There's quite a good variety of shops in east London and near where we live so it was quite handy for us to have a look around.

One of the first places I looked was in a local store, Ruby's House of Design Eid exhibition, where I did manage to pick up these two outfits on sale, but they were a little casual for me to wear on Eid. I did like the look of this Agha Noor kurta below, which I thought was pretty and that I thought would look nice with brocade pants. In the end I didn't go with it because the kurta alone was nearly £100 and along with trousers and a possible scarf, I thought I could get something nicer for less.

I also had a look at a new shop opening near the area, Junaid Jamshed by Janan, which carries designer cotton outfits by Junaid Jamshed. My mum has bought outfits from this label in Pakistan and loves the quality of their outfits, so we were happy to see this store opening near us. When the store opened we all went to have a good browse, and we liked what we saw but it was mostly cotton casuals, which is ideal for the summer weather, but none of us ended up with anything for Eid.

Having said that, their prices were very reasonable and we definitely will be having a look for summer outfits - they had a good range of ready-to-wear and unstitched fabric outfits which we did like.

There were also a few other new shops which opened locally a few weeks before Eid, and one of these was a shop called Nees, which had some beautiful kurtas and heavier formals. I loved some of the embroidered kurtas here which were about £30-35, while I wouldn't wear them for Eid I thought they were perfect for summer. We also liked some of the maxi dresses in this shop which ranged between £130 - £190, but didn't opt for any of them in the end.

I also spent some time looking online for outfits, as a lot of my nicer outfits from my wardrobe have been bought online. One of the nicest collections for Eid I found was this Maria B collection, which had a range of soft colours and embroidered floral designs that I loved, although they came unstitched so I would have to find a food tailor in time!. The two outfits below were on my wish-list, but unfortunately they were pre-ordered and sold out before the collection was even launched.

The other thing which I found unfair was the fact that for residents of Pakistan the outfits were a little cheaper than it was for non-residents, for them it was about £80 while for non-residents the options were around £95 - £115, which isn't a huge price difference but still a little unreasonable, especially as the price increase doesn't include shipping.

Having said that, I'm keeping an eye out for these because I thought they were lovely and look really easy to wear, and they're just the sort of designs I've been looking for.

I also really liked the Eid Collection released by Nomi Ansari - these were a lot more colourful and bolder, but I loved the styles and cuts of the outfits. This was even more difficult to find out about, as I wasn't sure whether you can buy them directly online and I didn't manage to find any vendors selling them. The main Nomi Ansari website doesn't give an option to buy outfits on their Facebook pages doesn't give up help either!

The two designs below were my favourites from the Eid collection, colourful florals which look wonderful and don't need much more to dress it up. These were pricier than the Maria B outfits but I'll be keeping an eye out for these as well!

I did manage to find other deisgner websites which were easier to navigate and buy from - I loved Sania Maskatiya's designs but they were a little too pricey for me (and the plainer designers which I could afford were too plain!), while another designer I like, Zainab Chottani's designs, were mostly lawn designs which I would need to get stitched and which I didn't have enough time for, unless I bought it from a local shop which I didn't get a chance to look at. I did like the designs on the website though and loved some of the skirts, so that's something to look at agian! A friend of mine also suggested Zaheer Abbas, who also has a better website to order from, but there wasn't much of a range to look through which didn't appeal to me.

I also had a look on online store Brand Central PK, which I have ordered from before so I was confident about getting it on time - again this was a little pricey. I've noticed that the prices have gone up since I last ordered (which was last year some time) and that there were a lot of heavy formals which were a little too heavy and expensive for me. Having said that I still keep an eye on this website for their sale items, and for the odd occasion I want to have a good browse at their new collections.

I finally got my Eid outfit from a store called Grandeur (more on this shop soon!), which is incidentally the place my mum got my Eid outfit from last Eid too! This piece is by a Pakistani label called Zainab Hasan, which also came an off-white colour, black, and tea pink shade (which slight variations on the flower embroidery) in a 3-piece jacket style.

This outfit was very reasonably priced and felt very comfortable on - Sara from the Grandeur store showed me a selection of similar jackets and embroidered kameezes that I really liked, although the jade green one stood out to me most because it looked a little different.

I'll be keeping an eye out for more designs and outfits for next Eid, and also as it is now wedding season, hopefully I'll have better luck shopping online!

Did you buy anything online? Do you have any recommendations?